gradient Blending Modes in Photoshop Tutorial

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By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2021

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How to create color mix effects in Photoshop, create all kinds of magical combinations of color using preset combinations and blends using the wonderful blending modes and transparency of gradients in Photoshop. How to use transparency, how to use color mixes in blends and much more


1. Color Mixes of the presets in Photoshop

You can create a basic design, lovely colors but you can stretch it further with combinations and mixing of colors in countless ways to create all kinds of inspirational color artworks. Use the powerful gradient presets and blend them using blending modes but you can also use brush strokes and the color brushes / mix etc as well as patterns and more.

2. Create a layer for the color mix

Select the gradient tool (learn how to install the presets). Also go to the layer menu and create a new layer. I always find it easier to work with layers and combinations of colors and if you are unhappy with the result of any of the combinations / mixes then you can quickly delete them. Set the type to radial or one of the other types, I must admit "radial" is generally my go to gradient option)

3. Apply first design

Select a preset and apply to the current layer. As you are using the layers to mix the designs, you can leave the tool with a blending mode of normal and then apply it. As it is a normal blending mode, and unless the preset includes transparency, you can apply it again and again or if not just use the undo and re-apply the artwork

4. Apply to a new layer

Go to the layer menu and new layer and then re-apply the preset or perhaps a different preset. Again, set to radial or linear etc and apply the design until you are happy. I would suggest at this point that you go to the windows menu and layers and then set the blending mode to difference or darken etc and you can then see the result of your color mixing.

5. Add additional layers

For a true color mix / blend of designs, you can add more than one additional layer though as you add more and more layers you will notice that result probably gets worse as the mixing becomes quite a mess. That is the reason for the layers as you can always re-apply the preset or you can simply delete the entire layer by going to the layers panel.

6. Smart objects

You can also make even more amazing color mixes with the presets by going to the layers panel and selecting a layer and then layer menu and smart objects commands and convert. Once the layers are all smart objects, you can then add effects to them such as oil paint or glass effects and more to create even more amazing designs.

7. Add adjustment layers

You can create even more amazing color mixes by adding in adjustments layers to the mix. If you have converted them to smart objects, you can select the layer and then add an adjustment to the color via the image menu and you can then manipulate the color of the hue / saturation or color balance adjustment via the properties panel. Another option to change the entire color mix of all the blends of the preset layers is to use the layer menu and new adjustment layer and you can place the adjustment layer above all the layers so all the colors are changed or you can add the adjustment in between layers and only layers below are then modified.

8. Flatten image of the entire color mix

Once you are happy with your design, you can always go to the layer menu and flatten image.